Lost faith in humanity? These Christian, Jewish and Muslim volunteers will build it back up

INDY STAR

Christians, Muslims and Jews working and praying together to provide homes for two families — it almost seemed silly to write about people of different religions uniting for a common cause, as though it were something unusual.

After all, we often go to school and go to work with people of different beliefs, different cultures, different colors. We meet our neighbors and our friends across different walks of life.

And yet … the strife is often what people notice.

“I think that we are living through a time of profound uncertainty and disunity and polarity, so anything that helps us meet each other in a respectful and civil way is just critical,” said Rabbi Brett Krichiver of the Indianapolis Hebrew Congregation. “Especially around those things that we believe in so passionately and that very often divide us.”

So the Greater Indy Habitat for Humanity‘s annual interfaith build this fall seemed commonplace, and yet remarkable.

FULL ARTICLE FROM INDY STAR

Advertisements

Some think interfaith dialogue goes nowhere. A veteran rabbi begs to differ.

web-RNS-CHABIN-KRONISH-100317-690x450Ron Kronish, an American-born rabbi in Israel, has devoted much of his life to dialogue among Jews, Muslims and Christians. His new book discusses the merits of dialogue. He says, the Vatican’s increasingly warm relations with Israel, for example, were rooted not only in diplomatic moves but 35 years of “systemic and substantive progress in Jewish-Catholic relations” fostered by hard-working priests and rabbis.

JERUSALEM – In Israel, when a rabbi, a priest and an imam walk into a room, it’s not a joke begging for a punchline.It’s an opportunity for the clerics to find some common ground and engage in peace building in an often-violent region, says Ron Kronish, an American-born rabbi who has devoted much of his life to interreligious peace building in Israel.

To Kronish, who has a new book out – “The Other Peace Process: Interreligious Dialogue, a View from Jerusalem” – the purpose of interfaith dialogue “isn’t to solve the peace process.”

Rather, said the Reform rabbi, it has defused many a tense situation.

“Our role isn’t political. There are tens of seminars and think tanks working on solving the political peace process,” said Kronish, 71, during an interview in Jerusalem, which he has called home for 38 years.

“It’s not kumbaya, saying nice things about others’ religions. It’s painful and people wince a little, but an atmosphere is created where you can say what bothers you, and there is compassion and caring.”

Over time, Kronish said, “you learn to live with one another, to understand other cultures. Our mission is to keep the hope for peace alive by creating real human relationships.”

In his new book, Kronish relates how ongoing, substantive meetings between faith leaders have fostered better relations on both the grass-roots and national levels.

The Vatican’s increasingly warm relations with Israel, for example, were rooted not only in diplomatic moves but 35 years of “systemic and substantive progress in Jewish-Catholic relations” fostered by hard-working priests and rabbis.

FULL ARTICLE FROM CRUX 

When Muslims come to the Jewish-Christian table

study-862994_1280-771x514(RNS) — I spent the 16th anniversary of 9/11 at the 16th annual meeting of the Council of Centers on Jewish-Christian Relations, held under the joint auspices of the Union and Jewish theological seminaries in New York City. Appropriately, the central question before the group was how best to expand long-standing Jewish-Christian interfaith encounters in America to include Muslims.

My assignment was to discuss the use of “Judeo-Christian” language to reinforce the idea of a clash of civilizations. As in when Tony Perkins said on the Family Research Council’s “Washington Watch” in 2014, “We are a nation that was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, that’s the foundation of our nation, not Islam, but the Judeo-Christian God.”

Or when, last year, retired Air Force Col. Tom Snodgrass, a contributor to a website called Right Side News, referred to “the overt and covert war being conducted by the political forces of Islam in order to subjugate the Judeo-Christian religions and their societies.”

A fellow panelist was Columbia’s distinguished Middle East historian Richard Bulliet, who spoke about his “Islamo-Christian” conception, first published in 2004 as “The Case for Islamo-Christian Civilization.” Bulliet’s idea is that theologically, doctrinally, and historically, Islam and Christianity have far more in common than most adherents of either faith tradition realize.

FULL ARTICLE FROM RELIGIOUS NEWS SERVICE 

“OF KINGS AND PROPHETS” PRODUCERS—A CHRISTIAN, A MUSLIM AND A JEW—REFUSE TO SANITIZE THE BIBLE

FDE_ABC_kings_and_Prophets_blog_968by504In 1984, President Ronald Reagan stated: “Religion and politics are necessarily related. We need religion as a guide. We need it because we are imperfect, and our government needs the church because only those humble enough to admit they’re sinners can bring to democracy the tolerance it requires in order to survive.”

Thirty years later, President Reagan’s words still ring loudly in our collective consciousness. But these words could just as easily have been applied to the world of the Bible 3,000 years ago.

It is precisely this historic and often unavoidable connection between religion and politics that led the three of us—a Christian, a Muslim, and a Jew—to join together to do what many in Hollywood deemed impossible: launch a Biblically-themed network television show about the collision of politics and religion that would appeal to both faith-based and secular audiences.

The show, called Of Kings And Prophets, debuted on ABC on Tuesday, March 8 at 10PM. It tells the story of one of the most complex and beloved characters in the Bible: King David. The biblical David is revered by Jews, Christians, and Muslims alike—nearly half the population of the entire planet—as the model of pious kingship.

Yet, although David has been lionized as pious, God-fearing, loving, and just, he was also deeply flawed. He was vain. He was vengeful. He was lustful. He killed his friends and he betrayed his wives (and he had a lot of wives). This is to say, the Biblical David was human, just like we all are. And as such, he was imperfect. Just as we all are.

FULL ARTICLE FROM RELIGION DISPATCHES

Christian, Hindu, Muslim leaders on ways to pass faith wisdom to children

interfaithHUNTSVILLE, Alabama – A Christian, a Muslim and a Hindu walk into a university together. And what happens next, according to community leaders, is no joke – walking together can build a more harmonious, more creative, more inspiring place to live.

“Representatives from Christianity, Islam and Hinduism will clarify their deepest treasures at the heart of the paths they follow and identify the principles and practices that can be used to promote harmonious community,” Broyles said. “Each presentation will pursue harmony by looking at principles and practices that promote unity and generational wisdom that can be passed on to our families and children.”

FULL ARTICLE FROM AL.COM

GAYChristianity, Judaism, and Islam need to break the gay taboo

It is almost spring, and love, of the gay variety, seems truly to be in the air. The last few weeks have brought a constant stream of good news for LGBT communities in Europe, not to mention encouraging developments in the United States and even within the Catholic Church.

British and French MPs spread the love in the run up to Valentine’s Day by giving non-heterosexual marriage a resounding vote of confidence, while Germany’s Constitutional Court ruled in favour of so-called “successive adoption” by same-sex couples.

Across the Atlantic, where same-sex marriage has faced stiff opposition from religious and social conservatives, a pro-gay marriage ad campaign featuring prominent Democrats and Republicans, including Dick Cheney and Colin Powell, has just been released, while there is talk that Barack Obama is planning to utilize the Supreme Court to push for same-sex matrimony.

Homosexuals, not to mention feminists, have toasted to the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, who “made homophobia one of his battle cries”, according to one activist. This has left many in the LGBT community hopeful that the next and future popes will be more relaxed towards questions of sexuality, while activists have been urging the Vaticanto wake up to reality.

“There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family,”  wrote Cardinal Ratzinger, the Holy Father’s previous incarnation, in an opinion he wrote for his predecessor Pope John Paul II in 2003 on the issue of same-sex marriage.

Why? Apparently, because “marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law”.

Although the argument that homosexuality is unnatural is contrary to the available scientific evidence and undoubtedly angers gay communities and their supporters, this idea is common not only in the Catholic Church, but in other branches of Christianity, Judaism and Islam.

However, despite Ratzinger’s protestations, deep, deep inside Christianity’s historic closet, there was greater tolerance of homosexuality than appears at first sight. Although the medieval and pre-modern church, especially during the various inquisitions, was well-known for persecuting and killing homosexuals, it may, at least at times, have been rather gay-friendly.

FULL ARTICLE FROM HA’ARETZ